Collaborative PhDs bring a big boost to small pharma and the life sciences

Collaborative PhDs bring a big boost to small pharma and the life sciences

These are exciting times for the life sciences industry, with the opportunity for many new collaborations driving innovation. With the recent announcement that the UK government has acknowledged the vital role played by life sciences in driving Britain’s economy, there will be new opportunities through the Industrial Strategy, in the form of a Sector Deal for Life Sciences. This will allow for an unprecedented level of cooperation and innovation in the UK where the life sciences are concerned.

Bringing together universities and the government with charities and over 25 businesses, the deal has sparked all involved to jointly commit to investing in life sciences across the UK. This will give businesses a way to tap into expertise and resources at Britain’s universities. This is an excellent opportunity, as British research institutes and universities rank among the world’s best, attracting and nurturing some of the world’s foremost innovators and experts.

It is the best possible time for a collaborative drive of this nature, with productivity levels among pharmaceutical companies hitting low levels in more recent years. They have come to rely on the same drugs for decades, and the open opportunity for start-ups to collaborate with universities is poised to revolutionise our approach to the creation of new medications, while helping the UK meet its promise to raise R&D funding.

An example of the pioneering efforts we will soon be seeing is those spearheaded by the Hertfordshire Science Partnership (HSP), with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as well as Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This project couples innovative businesses with local academic experts in order to further the research and development of new technologies, as well as translate the discoveries made into high-value services and products.

The partnerships of businesses and universities are hardly new. Big businesses have been actively tapping into the expertise of universities for R&D purposes for quite some time. Yet the results of these efforts have previously been difficult to access for smaller companies, especially in the pharmaceutical sphere. Small businesses often struggle when it comes to finding funding, so while they have the ambition for innovation there are practical roadblocks that have always stood in the way.

All that is set to change, with the Partnership aiming to fund and facilitate at least 28 collaborative projects in the life sciences by 2023.

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